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  • Robert Stines

Cyber in 2019

After a long holiday break and reflecting on 2018, it's my turn to do what almost every other tech blog does, provide some predictions for 2019. It's not very creative, but I have different predictions than other blogs. So, without further ado, here are:


TechlawX Cyber Predictions for 2019


Cyber Coverage Disputes

No surprise here. With all the expected cyber-related losses to companies and consumers, insurance will attract a lot of attention in 2019.


Insurance for cyber-incidents is a growth market. As I've mentioned in other blogs, it is now the cost of doing business in the cyber age.


More insurance carriers are entering the market, and coverage is becoming cheaper. But, carriers are still trying to figure out the threat landscape and the various types of cyber events that can cause harm to policyholders. Unfortunately, as carriers grapple with underwriting these types of risks, we will see more cyber-related coverage lawsuits.


With predictions that nation-states such as Russia and China will continue their activity in cyberspace, carriers may challenge coverage under the war, terrorist, state-actor exclusions. Courts may have to decide whether such an exclusion is applicable when the Government has neither declared an act of war or terrorism, nor officially attributed cyber events to foreign countries.


We will also see coverage disputes over phishing schemes, spoofed emails and fraudulent transfer of funds. When a company falls for a phishing scheme and voluntarily wires funds to fraudsters, is it computer fraud, a cyber event, or traditional criminal activity? Depending on the position that carriers take, we will see more litigation in this area.



Types of Cyber Events

Cyber insurance is a growth market because the cyber-threat landscape will increase in 2019.


After the Marriott, Facebook, and Google breaches, it appears that payment card details are no longer the prime target for hackers. Hackers are after sensitive, personal information. Having this information allows wrongdoers to send more authentic-looking phishing emails that result in fraudulent transfers of funds.


Of course, let us not forget ransomware. As malware and ransomware become more accessible to wrongdoers through the dark-web, we may see more ransomware attacks against consumers. Such a threat will lead more insurance carriers to provide cyber coverage to consumers.


Yes, your home insurance may include protection from hackers.


Internet of Things

It’s already here, and more consumers will continue to adopt products that are connected to the internet. This will lead to debates regarding regulations or laws to govern the technology.


Privacy specialists are already sounding the alarm that consumer products connected to the internet were not designed to comply with some of the more rigid security and privacy standards being promulgated by various states.


The IoT will increase the vulnerability surface, which relates back to cybersecurity and cyber insurance.


Honorable Mentions


E-commerce: Traditional brick-and-mortar companies will struggle to survive in the e-commerce economy that companies like Amazon, Netflix, and Uber have dominated. With the migration of more companies to the internet, we will see more “e-commerce” litigation – disputes over intellectual property, cybersecurity, e-contracts, etc.


Virtual and Augmented Reality: Magic leap finally launched its product and Oculus is seeing more consumer adoption. People are discovering the wonders of virtual and augmented reality. We might see a radical shift in how people consume content and watch events. When people can watch a sports event from their comfortable couches (and cheaper beer), there might be a correlating dip in ticket sales. Additionally, cable providers will have to react to the threat of VR and AR.


Class Actions Galore: We will see more companies notifying the public about data-breaches that will result in more class actions. We should pay attention to the Marriott data-breach class actions because we will learn why it took four years for Marriott to discover such a major data compromise.


As small and medium size businesses (SMBs) rely more on the internet, data collection, and online services, we may see more localized lawsuits against SMBs.


Enjoy the Ride

Hold on folks, it's going to be a wonderful, cyber-refic, bumpy ride in 2019. My hope is that more people appreciate that cyber law has an impact on our lives as we adopt more internet-reliant technology.


~ Florida Cyber Lawyer, Robert Stines, Esq., CIPP